Hermit And The Vision
( Originally Published 1851 )
It is told of a religious recluse, who, in the early ages of Christianity, betook himself to a cave in Upper Egypt, which, in the times of the Pharaohs, had been a depository for mummies, that he prayed there, morning, noon, and night, eating only of the dates which some neighboring trees afforded, and drinking of the water of the Nile. At length, the hermit became weary of life, and then he prayed still more earnestly.
After this duty, one day he fell asleep, and the vision of an angel appeared to him in a dream, commanding him to arise, and cut down a neighboring palm-tree, and make a rope of its fibres, and, after it was done, the angel would appear to him again. The hermit awoke, and instantly applied himself to obey the vision.
He travelled about, from place to place, many days before he could procure an axe ; and during this journey, he felt happier than he had been for many years. His prayers were now short and few ; but what they wanted in length and number, they out-measured in fervency.
Having returned with the axe, he cut down the tree ; and, with much labor and assiduity during several days, prepared the fibres to make the rope ; and, after a continuance of daily occupation for some weeks, completed the command.
The vision that night appeared to the hermit, as promised, and thus addressed him: : " You are now no longer weary of life, but happy. Know then, that man was made for labor ; and prayer also is his duty : the one as well as the other is essential to his well-being. Arise in the morning, take the cord, and with it gird up thy loins, and go forth into the world ; and let it be a memorial to thee, of what God expects from man, if he would be blessed with happiness on earth."
At an assembly a gentleman entered into conversation with a young nobleman who was near him. Being a stranger, he made several inquiries respecting the company, which were answered with great politeness. At length he said, " Who is that fat cow at the other end of the room ?" " That, Sir," re-plied the young nobleman, " that fat sow is the Countess of D- , and I have the honor to be one of her little pigs."— On the danger of Personalities in Company—from "Iustructions in Etiquette."